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Fun Boy Three

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The Specials were one of the most popular and influential bands in the U.K., scoring a streak of seven straight Top Ten singles. Their popularity culminated with the prophetic "Ghost Town," which spent three weeks at number one in the summer of 1981. The "Ghost Town" single was the last to feature Terry Hall and the original lineup -- after its release Hall split along with the group's other two vocalists, Lynval Golding and Neville Staples, to form the Fun Boy Three. Where the Specials were a ska revival band, the Fun Boy Three were a new wave pop group with distinctly weird, skeletal, and experimental overtones. They released their first single, "The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum)," shortly after they departed from the Specials. The single peaked at number 20 late in 1981. Early in 1982, the group charted again with "It Ain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)," a duet with Bananarama on an old Jimmie Lunceford song. The Fun Boy Three finally released their eponymous debut in the spring of 1982. That summer, they had a hit with a cover of George Gershwin's "Summertime." The group recorded a second album with Talking Heads leader David Byrne late in 1982. The resulting album, Waiting, appeared in the spring of 1983, concurrently with the Top Ten singles "The Tunnel of Love" and "Our Lips Are Sealed," a song Hall wrote with Jane Wiedlin, who already made it into a hit the previous year with her group, the Go-Go's. By the summer of 1983, the Fun Boy Three were peaking in popularity and Hall disbanded the group. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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